Lake Michigan College seeks alumni award nominations

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, February 17, 2021

BENTON HARBOR — The Lake Michigan College Alumni Association Board of Directors is seeking nominations for its 2021 Alumni Awards.

The college first presented Alumni Awards in 1986. Since then, more than 80 recipients have been honored. Best consideration for the awards will be given to nominations received by March 8.

To be considered for the awards, nominees need to have attended Lake Michigan College or its predecessor, Benton Harbor Community College, and have earned at least 30 credit hours through the college.

To nominate an individual for an alumni award, access the nomination forms online at For more information, contact Barbara Craig at

There are three award categories (awardees are listed with their affiliation at the time of the award):

  • The Clarence Beckwith Distinguished Alumni Award, named in honor of the first president of Lake Michigan College, is given to an alumnus who has accomplished significant success in his or her personal or professional endeavors.

Recent winners of the Clarence Beckwith Distinguished Alumni Award include Wilce Cooke (nurse and former Benton Harbor mayor), Gloria Ender (owner and CEO of Freedom Finishing), Steven C. Fairbanks (president and CEO, Iowa Mold Tooling Co.), Dr. Gyl Kasewurm (owner, Professional Hearing Services, Ltd.), and Sam Monte (owner, Monte Package Company).

  • The Alumni Achievement Award is presented to a recent alumnus who attended LMC within the past 15 years and has demonstrated significant achievement and distinguished themselves in their career, education or community such that they would be role models to current LMC students.

Recent Alumni Achievement Award honorees include: Lynne Christiano (Berrien County Public Defender’s Office), Melanie Owen (co-owner of Lazy Ballerina Winery), Cindy Reuss (retired LMC director of enrollment services), Brittnee Ashten Carter (PhD candidate at the University of Kansas), and Brian Doak (Legacy Wealth Group).

  • The Alumni Service Award is given to an alumnus who has offered significant personal contributions to the college or community, with community being broadly interpreted as local, the state of Michigan, or the nation.

Recent past selections for the Alumni Service Award are Craig Stilwell (radio personality and attorney), Rick Smiedendorf (school/community resource officer for the Berrien Springs/Oronoko Township Police Department), Edward J. Todd (retired businessman), Donald C. Mitchell (retired veteran, industrial engineer, and mortgage originator.)

Upon nomination, an application will be sent to the candidate. Award winners will be celebrated throughout the year.